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President Michael Drake: ‘All of us are moved by music’

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OSU president Michael Drake speaks to audience members at the ‘Reaching for the Top: Music of the Civil Rights Era’ event on Feb. 17 at Ross Heart Hospital. Credit: Sarah Mikati / Lantern reporter

Ohio State President Michael Drake did the twist and sang at Ross Heart Hospital as part of a discussion about music during the Civil Rights era.

“I think all of us are moved by music, and we get to hear people communicate things (through music) that are meaningful to us in ways that resonate for years to come,” Drake said in an interview with The Lantern at the event.

Drake gave his keynote speech at the hospital’s annual Black History Month event on Tuesday, which this year was called “Reaching for the Top: Music of the Civil Rights Era.”

With an interactive presentation drawn from a former class he taught at University of California-Irvine, Drake took the audience through decades of black music culture, from slave songs of the 1800s, to love songs of the 1950s and resistance songs of the 1960s.

However, black music and white music were sometimes exactly the same, Drake said. In the 1950s, identical songs with slight rhythmic differences would be classified as rock ’n’ roll when sung by white people, but as “race music,” or R&B, when sung by black people.

Drake said the 1960s began changing pop music culture, from singing about teenage love experiences to expressing distaste about race issues in the U.S.

Drake highlighted Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Freedom Singers as some of the key musicians that sang against oppression. Some of the songs were sung during marches and protests of the Civil Rights Movement.

“The arts came from the philosophical, political and social circumstances of the artist,” Drake said. “It allows us to connect with how people were feeling and behaving.”

Motown was one of the first genres to form a bridge between whites and blacks, with music that was appropriate and applicable to both races, Drake said.

He analyzed various aspects of the music he presented to the audience, from the tone artists used to the instruments they played.

In fact, one of the event coordinators said the idea to focus on music at the event was Drake’s.

“Music is a passion of (Drake’s),” said Diane Gordon, administrative director of operations at University Hospital East and one of the coordinators of the event.

Quinn Capers, associate dean in medicine administration at the Wexner Medical Center, said music is a wonderful way to reflect upon society.

“(Drake) did a masterful job of taking us through a couple of decades,” Capers said. “The more we learn about each other, the more we respect each other, the more powerful we will all be as a country and in medicine. I’m empowered to save lives when I know more about different cultures and different religions and different ethnicities.”


  1. Who is Drake to be waxing eloquent about Civil Rights era music when he lies about something as basic as his personal finances? Frauds always speak in broad brushes when they are just empty suits. What a total embarrassment. his presidency is.

  2. Where does Drake get the moral authority to be talking about civil rights when he and his cronies so fundamentally violated the civil rights of Jon Waters and the members of the OSU Marching Band? He’s obviously syncophantic. Why isn’t the Lantern digging into the lies a out his past?

  3. How are you still talking about Jon Waters?!? Find a new passion project. Shovel a sidewalk or read a book to a child. Anything.

  4. To Sorry/Not Sorry – the lies and egregious innuendo in the Glaros Report responsible for the wrongful termination of Jonathan Waters, also resulted in the defamation of all those students named in that rag. tOSU violated their Civil Rights and Title IX amongst others… Some have suffered from incredible slander, defamation, harassment and worse. Over 4000 TBDITL alumni were impacted by the actions of Drake and his cronies (including his predecessor Alutto, Steinmetz, the BoT, Glaros, Garrity-Roukos, Smith, Griffin, and Chris Davey). They threw an incredibly kind and ethical man, as well as all of OSUMB and TBDBITL, under the bus while they all collect their exorbitant salaries & bonuses, pat each other on the back, and spend Ohio Taxpayer money frivolously on investigations and legal fees for a matter that was dishonest and mishandled from the start! The truth will out. Cannot wait for those depositions and discovery.

    No we are not moving on! And yes, there will be other lawsuits. Let’s see where this Fairy Tale PR campaign for Drake goes when he and his clown cohorts are sued by others damaged in this mess. All because a group of idiots in the administration thought that a splashy firing (at the 2 month deadline from the DoE Investigation Announcement) would go unnoticed… Just throw the band nerds under the bus to get the DoE off the University’s back and then they wouldn’t have to be accountable for their botched handling of 87 Title IX cases. No one of significance or merit will care. Well, I think that has back-fired, don’t you? What will DoE say when the lies and collusion perpetrated by tOSU are documented?

  5. So according to Sorry/Not Sorry, the statute of limitations for civil rights violations, and the right to speak out against such violations expires after six months.

  6. To Sorry/Not Sorry: I hope you are never slandered nor falsely testified against. But if that happens, I hope you have a lot of friends to come to your aide, and they don’t give up on defending you after 6 months.

  7. The two biggest issues are: campus safety; and arrogant, overpaid administrators disrespectful of students and tradition (think, tear gas and the Waters termination.)

    So what is the nature of Drake’s first memorable appearance? Meaningless music in a divisive setting (“Black” History Month).

  8. Hard to understand the confusion. Drake is passionate in talking about race. Always has been. I don’t see how that’s a bad thing. Let him do it.

  9. How are you still talking about race?!? Find a new passion project. Shovel a sidewalk or read a book to a child. Anything.

  10. Dear Anonymous: “Always has been?” We didn’t know Drake before he showed up on the Waters firing video. Has he always been passionate about mistreating good, talented people? How do you know him when none of us do? Why are you defending his indefensible character? Are you a paid CA Astroturfer?

  11. Drake and his cronies are so totally fake.

    Former CBS reporter Sheryl Attkisson exposes “Astroturfing” in her latest blog post (fake grassroots comments like “Sorry/Not Sorry”). I used to call them “paid blogger goons,” but “Astroturfer” is more descriptive. Only somebody getting paid to love people like Drake and his fake sincerity would bother making the inane comments they make that demean others in their effort to make readers think they represent mass thinking, when they don’t.

    Google “Top 10 Astroturfers”

    Watch her short TED video, it is worth the time.

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